Chief Justice Stuart Rabner of New Jersey's Supreme Court ordered the release of hundreds of inmates in county jails by Tuesday in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter issued Monday, the state's Supreme Court will suspend or commute county jail sentences for "low-risk inmates in light of the public health emergency caused by coronavirus COVID-19."

The order applies to sentences either as a condition of probation for an indictable offense or because of a municipal court conviction, according to the letter. Eligible inmates will be released no later than 6 a.m. on Tuesday. 

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Other inmates serving a county jail sentence will be released by no later than noon on Thursday, March 26. The letter states that county prosecutors and the Attorney General can file objections to any given release. 

Notably, the order only applies to nonviolent offenders, specifically those in jail for third- or fourth-degree crimes or "disorderly person offenses." It will not affect state prison sentences. 

CNN writes that this will impact about 1,000 inmates. 

One the coronavirus pandemic is under control, the inmates released from jail will appear before the court to see if their sentences will be reinstated or further commuted. No-contact orders, drivers' license suspensions and other legal conditions will be enforced while inmates are on temporary release.


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Published on Mar 23, 2020